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Gerard Toal (Irish: Gearóid Ó Tuathail; born 1962 in the Republic of Ireland) is Professor of Government and International Affairs and Director of the Government and International Affairs program, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, National Capital Region campus.
Life and scientific work
Toal grew up in the border region of Ireland, in the village of Smithborough, County Monaghan. He received a B.A. in history and geography from National University of Ireland, Maynooth with First Class Honours in 1982. He obtained a M.A. in geography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1984 and a Ph.D. in political geography from Syracuse University in 1989. John O'Loughlin in Illinois and John A. Agnew in Syracuse, were his academic advisors. Following his PhD, Toal was hired in 1989 as assistant professor of geography at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, where he worked for ten years before moving to the Washington, D.C. region to establish what became the Government and International Affairs program in the School of Public and International Affairs.
Toal’s research specializations include critical geopolitics, nationalism, political geography, post-Communism, and globalization. He conducts research in Washington, D.C., Bosnia-Herzegovina and on the Caucasus region. Toal has been a key figure in establishing Critical Geopolitics as a domain of research within political geography and international relations. By dissecting how narratives, texts and discourses shape domestic politics and international relations he has provided inspiration for the development of geography of media and communication.
He is one of the contemporary geographers featured in the book Key Thinkers in Space and Place. He has authored, co-authored and/or edited seven books. His current book is Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and Its Reversal, co-authored with Dr Carl Dahlman (professor of geography at Miami University in Ohio). It examines how wartime ethnic cleaning and a post-war displaced person returns process transformed the character of three towns in Bosnia. Toal is an associate editor for the academic journals Geopolitics and Eurasian Geography and Economics, and serves on the editorial board of Political Geography and Nationalities Papers.
Toal has held fellowships at the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute, and the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California. In 2005 he testified before the United States Congress on political developments in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife and two daughters.
- G. Toal, Near Abroad: Putin, the West, and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus Oxford University Press, 2017.
- G. Toal, C. Dahlman, Bosnia Remade: Ethnic Cleansing and its Reversal. Oxford University Press, 2011.
- G. Ó Tuathail, S. Dalby and P. Routledge, A Geopolitics Reader. Second edition. Routledge, 2006.
- J. Agnew, K. Mitchell and G. Toal, eds. A Companion to Political Geography. Blackwell, 2004.
- S. Dalby and G. Ó Tuathail, eds., Rethinking Geopolitics. Routledge, 1998.
- G. Ó Tuathail, S. Dalby and P. Routledge, A Geopolitics Reader. First edition. Routledge, 1998.
- A. Herod, G. Ó Tuathail and S. Roberts, eds. An Unruly World? Geography, Globalization and Governance. Routledge, 1998.
- G. Ó Tuathail, Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press (Volume 6 in the Borderlines series) and London: Routledge, 1996.
- Hague, Euan (2004): Gearóid Ó Tuathail (Gerard Toal) in : Hubbard, Phil, Rob Kitchin and Gill Valentine (Eds.): Key thinkers on space and place. London: Sage Pubn Inc. pp. 226–230.
- Louis, Florian (2014). La géopolitique critique (Gearóid Ó Tuathail) in : Les grands théoriciens de la géopolitique. Presses universitaires de France, Paris, 2014, pp. 179-188.
- Hague, Euan (2004): Gearóid Ó Tuathail (Gerard Toal). In: Hubbard, Phil, Rob Kitchin and Gill Valentine (Eds.): Key thinkers on space and place. London: Sage Pubn Inc. pp. 226–230.